Special Procedures of the Human Rights Council


19th session of the Human Rights Council, Room XX © UN Photo/JeanMarc Ferre
19th session of the Human Rights Council, Room XX, Palais des Nations, Geneva
© UN Photo/JeanMarc Ferre

The special procedures of the Human Rights Council are independent human rights experts with mandates to report and advise on human rights from a thematic or country-specific perspective. The system of Special Procedures is a central element of the United Nations human rights machinery and covers all human rights: civil, cultural, economic, political, and social. As of 27 March 2015 there are 41 thematic and 14 country mandates.

With the support of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), special procedures undertake country visits; act on individual cases and concerns of a broader, structural nature by sending communications to States and others in which they bring alleged violations or abuses to their attention; conduct thematic studies and convene expert consultations, contribute to the development of international human rights standards, engage in advocacy, raise public awareness, and provide advice for technical cooperation. Special procedures report annually to the Human Rights Council; the majority of the mandates also reports to the General Assembly. Their tasks are defined in the resolutions creating or extending their mandates.
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What special procedures have done in 2014 at a glance

This report, covering the period from 1 January to 31 December 2014, provides information on the system of special procedures as a whole and its achievements, including facts and figures. It gives a comprehensive picture of what special procedures have done in 2014 individually and as a system, inter alia in terms of country visits, communications, thematic reports, follow-up activities, joint actions, development of international standards and advocacy. The report also reflects the work of the Coordination Committee. It also covers the main points raised at the twenty-first annual meeting of special procedures of the Human Rights Council, held in Geneva from 29 September to 3 October 2014.


Visual Directory

Directory of Special Procedures Mandate Holders

June 2015
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Annual Fact and Figures 2013

Annual Fact and Figures 2013

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Civil Society Handbook

Civil Society Handbook

Click here Chapter VI - Special Procedures and the Full handbook here (PDF, 1,28MB)

UPR recommendations relating to the Special Procedures (2008-2013)

UPR recommendations relating to the Special Procedures (2008-2013)

UPR recommendations  (PDF, 1,73MB)


Visit of the Special Rapporteur on trafficking in persons -- Italy, September 2013

Visit of the Special Rapporteur on truth -- Uruguay, October 2013

Visit of the Special Rapporteur on the right to water and sanitation -- Brazil, December 2013

Visit of the Independent Expert on the situation of human rights in Central African Republic -- Central African Republic, February 2015

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Feature stories

Feature stories about the Special Procedures of the
Human Rights Council.
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Contact us

Postal address:
Special Procedures Division
8-14 Avenue de la Paix
1211 Geneva 10

Fax : +41 22 917 90 08

Sudan / Unilateral sanctions
Unilateral sanctions imposed on Sudan hit the innocent harder than the political elites, UN expert on unilateral coercive measures Idriss Jazairy warns at the end of his first visit to the country.

USA / Discrimination against women
A UN expert group will assess the progress made towards achieving gender equality and the protection and promotion of women’s human rights in the United States (30 November - 11 December).

Mission to Germany
UN expert Baskut Tuncak is in Germany to assess the protection of human rights from the life cycle of hazardous substances and wastes from their manufacturing to their final disposal (30 Nov-7 Dec).

Women Human Rights Defenders
“It is not an easy job, and sometimes can be plain dangerous,” UN expert Michel Forst calls for further protection of women defenders promoting sexual and reproductive rights in the Americas.

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For further information on how to submit communications on alleged human rights violations, please read the webpage on Communications and send your submission to: urgent-action@ohchr.org.